FROM THE EDITOR: Get fit, happy and give more in 2014

I really hate writing cliched columns.

You know the ones. It’s July 4, so you write about freedom and liberty. It’s Christmas time or Thanksgiving, and you write about the spirit of giving or the commercial tyranny of the holidays.

Blah.

It’s all overdone. Once in a while, I will succumb to this temptation to be merely expedient. But it’s a big problem in the newspaper industry. Many editors, of course, will tell you the trick is to be wily enough to find a new angle every year to freshen up the annual holiday, Independence Day, or new year column.

If they must be done, then I agree.

Still, despite any personal reservations, I feel compelled by tradition, and expediency, to write a new year’s editorial for you, though here we are 10 days removed from the first of the year. Take this column for what it is, a giant suggestion for a great 2014, for you, your family, your community and your country.

Here’s my short wish list, or personal resolutions, if you will, for 2014.

Why am I doing this so late? Well, I took the first week of the year off. Some friends and I started the new year with a three-day jaunt through the Grand Canyon. A hiking and camping trip that just about killed me, but also reminded me that I need to stay physically fit this year.

So, resolution number one is to remember to stay healthy. Your health is really all you have. Health is better than money and a close second only to love. My suggestion to you is to get a good regimen together, set some small goals, get outside more and get the heart rate up, eat better, sleep better and get healthier. If you are already fit, stay that way.

Speaking of money, that Grand Canyon trip cost a pretty penny, all that gear and travel expenses. And I’m pretty cheap, so it was hard to part with the dough.

But it reminded me that I need to be thrifty and money smart this year. So just like your health, set some financial goals for yourself. No matter how much you earn, find ways to save a little more this year. Make sure you are working toward your retirement goals, are covered by the right kinds of insurance to protect yourself and your family. And make sure you have a plan in place should you encounter any career stumbling blocks this year.

If the Great Recession has taught us anything, it’s that most people in this country need to be smarter with their money. Make this year the year you tighten up, get out of debt, build a plan and stick to it. This is America, don’t forget. You are on your own buddy!

Your health and financial goals met, get your spiritual house in order. By spiritual I don’t mean praying every night before bed, or taking the kids to church to repeat some hymns.

Here’s a goal for 2014, give more to someone less fortunate than you. Volunteer, cut a fat check to a worthwhile charity, clean up your local park, sponsor an exchange student, become a foster parent, hand out food during a commodity drive, etc. There is so much to do, so much need here in this community. If you are like me, you find yourself sitting on the fence wondering when the time will come when you will have the courage to jump in and get involved.

God is not going to call you on the telephone or send you an email. That lump in your throat should be all you need to get involved. Too shy? Start with your next door neighbors and work your way outward. I suspect you will reap rewards you never knew existed.

Along with a healthy spirit comes happiness. It’s another thing that we sometimes take for granted. Happiness should be at the top of your to-do list in 2014, particularly if 2013 wasn’t so happy. In a bad relationship? A crappy job? Legal trouble? Depressed? Take a deep breath, come up with an escape plan, and run when you get the chance. Be smart, don’t act too hastily or too selfishly, but don’t settle for unhappy in 2014, life is simply too short. Get happy at all costs no matter what. It’s that important.

These are just a few suggestions to get 2014 started. Don’t take my word for anything. Listen to your heart and your gut on important matters this year, they usually won’t steer you wrong.

Happy New Year Pahrump and Nye County!

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